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By David Limbaugh, The Stream, March 23, 2019
Liberal ideology is rife with inconsistencies, but none is greater than how its supposedly animating motivation — human compassion — is contradicted by its devaluation of human life.
Liberals have long claimed superior compassion and demonized conservatives as being uncaring. This has always been untrue while superficially appearing to be true, and liberals have evangelized countless young minds with this seductive canard.
It’s difficult to convince embryonic liberal activists that individual liberals may be compassionate but their governing ideology and the inevitable consequences of their policies are not. It’s also difficult to make them see that conservatives are compassionate and tolerant when we stand for unchanging moral standards and openly disagree with policies that liberals successfully peddle as compassionate.
Liberalism Degrades Human Dignity
But beyond the superficial rhetoric, liberalism does not stand the test of compassion, because it subordinates individuality to identity groups and the collective and degrades human dignity. One of the great ironies of secular humanism is its purported championship of mankind as the measure of all things while undermining what makes us human. How can a philosophy that devalues human individuality ultimately be compassionate toward human beings?
The most obvious example is liberals’ extreme advocacy of abortion, making it a holy sacrament that is not about individual choice but a paranoid conviction that pro-lifers threaten women’s rights, health care and autonomy.
Another example is socialism, which the leftist-dominated Democratic Party is virtually embracing today. Throughout history, socialists have duped millions of well-meaning people into believing that free market capitalism is evil and socialism is noble. I don’t even subscribe to the glib pitch that it is wonderful in theory but doesn’t work in practice. It’s also unappealing in theory because it is fundamentally at odds with human nature and the human spirit. It arrogantly assumes it can remake human beings as irresponsive to incentives and devoid of their competitive spirit and their natural yearning for liberty.
In practice, socialism has consistently impoverished and enslaved. With its top-down control of the economy, it obliterates individual economic liberty and thus robs individuals of an essential part of their humanity. Government-forced transfer payments — taking other people’s money to satisfy one’s sense of moral self-worth — is a far cry from charity and compassion. I know of no conservatives who oppose a social safety net for the truly needy, provided it incentivizes the able-bodied to return to the workforce.
When it comes to health care, of course conservatives want to maximize people’s access to the highest-quality care at the lowest prices and most choices, but they dispute that forcing everyone to be insured helps achieve any of those goals efficiently. What is true of socialized medicine is true of socialism generally: It doesn’t work anywhere in the long run — including in Sweden, truth be told. How compassionate are socialism and less extreme big-government liberalism when they destroy economic growth and prosperity and, left to their own devices, often lead to totalitarianism? Socialism, just like much of economic and political liberalism, is more about people seeking power and control over individual lives.
The Latest Rage
The latest rage is intersectionality, which establishes new hierarchies of victimhood and privilege based on the overlapping and interrelated categories of disadvantages that groups of people have experienced. We must no longer look at discrimination through the “single-axis framework” of race, gender, class, disability, etc., but understand how the various identities intersect. Some people have multiple “burdens” or “disadvantages,” such that black women, for example, suffer more discrimination than black men and white women. Unless we refine our thinking to account for these combinations of disabilities, the most disadvantaged will be ignored. Isn’t this exhausting? Who really thinks like this if not forced to?
This is why feminists have recently been shamed for promoting their singular cause while presumably ignoring the plight of transgender people, gay people, the disabled and black women in particular. It is why intersectionality zealots are questioning whether Sen. Kamala Harris is “black enough” to be president, as her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian. She may not be black enough because she is not African-American — a bona fide descendant of American slaves. It is why race- and gender-obsessed people are upset that the three Democratic presidential front-runners are white men.
It doesn’t seem to occur to these self-described supporters of democracy that three white guys happen to be ahead because people are voicing their opinions. It also doesn’t seem to bother the Democrats expressing their preference for white men that though they won’t dare challenge the orthodoxy of intersectionality, they are violating its premises with their voting inclinations.
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Among other things, intersectionality is dehumanizing because people are demonized or protected depending on their group, not on what they have done or what they have personally experienced. How can people not see that this kind of thinking violates our basic sense of justice and accountability? Intersectionality, perhaps even more than the rudimentary forms of identity politics that preceded it, is also damaging to people because it forces them to focus on themselves as victims of disadvantaged groups rather than encourage them to strive, as individuals, to be the best they can be.
If the results of liberals’ policies — as opposed to their good intentions, posturing and virtue signaling — count for anything and if the ideas they promote are as dehumanizing as they appear, though many individual liberals may have enormous hearts, the ideology to which they are in thrall is stunningly uncompassionate.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com.
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